Monday, December 29, 2008

Keeping our Tradition

Christmas 2002, we spent Christmas in Yakima. It was Mason's first real Christmas (he had just turned 1) and we hadn't been to Yakima for Christmas since Mac was born. On our way home from Yakima, Lee decided it would be cool to drive through Leavenworth and take Stevens Pass. Cool it was. Leavenworth is a little Barvarian themed village near Wenatchee. It has been named one of America's best Christmas destinations on Good Morning America (last year) and is on another Christmas Town countdown on another show on a cable network (I just can't think of it right now). At Christmas time, the whole town is decked out in lights (I couldn't get the coolness on my camera-I guess I need a fancier one). In 2002, we walked around, we went through some of the shops, we ate some German dinner, and we went home. On our way home, Lee and I thought it would be neat to go there next year, stay the night, etc. So we did. And it's something we have been doing around Christmastime since. We have missed a year here and there (last year we didn't go, because we just moved). We did go there for Christmas, but it was a huge pain in the you know what, getting presents there. And that year we went for Christmas Day, I got sick, Mason was in the hospital for a few days because he was sick-so being sick sucked all of the fun out of it. When you do something like that, you have to make reservations in August or September before Christmas and I made them in August.
While we are there, we go up Icicle Ridge (I think that's what it's called) and go sledding down this huge hill, that's usually a road when it's not snowy. When we got there, it had just snowed 7 inches the night before.

Mac got plowed into the snow by his Dad, that is why Lee was laughing in the picture above. Mason made it all the way down the hill on his little blow-up sled thing. He's 40-nothing pounds, so he sailed down nicely.

We went into town after drying off at the hotel room. There is a hill right in town where everyone goes sledding. Lee towed Mason in town on that little blow-up snow thing he has. Everyone thought it was cool, and asking Mason for rides. Mac is carrying a tube.

The guys in town Sunday morning. I got Lee 1 1/2 pounds of Fudge at a Fudge place. They had so many different kinds, so I got him 1 1/2 pounds of different flavors. Mason got this little wood snake thing from the Wood Store. They had all of these cool wood puzzles the shape of things. He had $20.00 to spend from his Birthday money from Papa & Nana Dawson-and this is what he ended up with. I tried talking him into something cooler, but he had his mind made up.

Mason saw this huge bear in front of a store, and HAD to have his picture taken with it. And the snake too. He said goodbye to the bear when we left.

After I took pictures of the guys, Mason w/the bear- Lee said the snowy Bronco Truck was feeling left out. It snowed another 5 inches or so the night we stayed in Leavenworth. Stevens Pass was compact snow, and it was snowy when we got there each way. I'm grateful we have this huge SUV of a truck to get us to our Christmas Tradition.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


It snowed ALOT! This is our front sidewalk and porch. I showed Mac "how to" shovel snow. He thought it would be okay if he just skimmed the surface. I then showed him, and shoveled circles around him. He got the point.

I baked, ALOT! This is just a small sample of what I did. I got behind in the baking because I was busy bundling up a certain 7 year old boy up in snow clothes. And then him and his brother would come in wanting cocoa. And then I would hang up thier coats and snow pants, and mop up the melted snow off the floor. It was never ending. So on the night of the 23rd...I baked, all night long. I was done at 4:00am-but Lee wakes up at 5:00am, so I stayed up and made him his lunch, got a few plates of cookies for him to give and went to bed at 6:00am. I slept for 3-4 hours and woke up to hand treats out to friends. There was alot of snow out still, and my Mini-Van didn't get the memo that it's supposed to "pretend" it's an SUV and should behave accordingly. I almost got stuck 2 times.

I took this pic this morning-it snowed on Christmas Morning while we were opening presents. It really came down, and was a cool sight to see from our window.

We wrapped presents in Tinkerbelle Christmas wrapping paper for the boys. This was an idea that I had, and that Lee wanted to do. We didn't get the "freak out" reaction from them that we thought we would. I guess the paper needed to be pink to get the full effect. We are the meanest parents in the world. Lee and I wrap presents on Christmas Eve. This started when Mac was a 1 year old. We start when the boys are in a "coma" to be sure they hear nothing-that is usually around midnight. Lee is usually half asleep and I am tired and cranky. One year, Lee stepped on the scissors-and they broke. They were the only ones we had in the house. He was demoted to "tape boy" and wasn't allowed to leave the couch. This year, like last year, Lee told me that we needed to stop wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. He has been saying this for several years. We do this earlier the year we went to Leavenworth for Christmas.

Mason woke up at 7:00am-which was too early for us (I went to bed at 2:00am). This was the first time he woke up yelling "It's Christmas! Santa came! He came and left stockings stuffed of stuff for us! You have to wake up now! It's Christmas! Come on! Your killing me here!" Yes, he really said all of this in a 2 minute period. This went on until 7:30am. I prefer it when he used to just say "It's Christmas. Wake up." and then proceed to slap our faces a little (not to hard) to wake us up.

Santa leaves our Christmas Stockings on the couch. We haven't had a mantel to hang our stockings out, ever. We have little mantel shelves, but it's not the same. We hang them on stocking hangers on the mantel shelves, Santa fills our stockings with stuff, and leaves them on the couch. He has always done this for us. They are pretty heavy when he's done.

We opened gifts.

Yes, the teenager is going to kill me for this one. But really, I don't care.

We made Mason read the tags. This was the educational part of his Christmas. It was torture. But he survived.

We ate breakfast. I made these Christmas Braid Bread loaves for the first time ever. I made the dough and filling last night, and rolled out and baked this morning. They were so yummy! I made an Apple Filling like for a pie, and I glazed them-this is before the glaze. We also had an egg breakfast casserole, also a first for me. It was all yummy.

And then.....some of us fell asleep. We are grateful for so much this year. We hope all of you have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Passing the time..Mason style.

Honestly, it really doesn't take much to entertain Mason. Like these cups for instance. This isn't the first time he has found these cups. Well, the first time it happened-I tossed them. I always toss them because, well, who would want to drink out of them after he has stacked the blasted things everywhere in the house. And, I have serious germ and cleanliness issues. He really wanted me to drop everything to take pictures of all of this. So I did. And now, I'm blogging about it. The price you pay for me to take pics of you on my camera. There is a 75% chance it will end up on my blog. He was very pleased with himself.
I was in the Kitchen when he built this and told me "Mom! Look at my Castle!" So, I did. Then he told me "No! Now look at it from over here"-as he's pointing to the sliding glass door. This, he has never done before. He stacked 2 rows of this "Castle".

Mason not only stacks these lovely cups, he also counts them. He stacks and counts. Or he will sit down on the couch and count them. He loves to count. Which, I can't complain. But he does drag them all over the house. I draw the line at sleeping with them.

He has also been playing out in the snow, with Mac. It's been cold, snowy (we have had snow for 7-8 days now, and it has stayed for those 7-8 days). It's been icy, cold, snowy and now the wind is blowing-and they are threatning that we may lose our power. So, I cleaned house and did laundry for the better part of the day. I'm super glad that Lee kept the Generator. We were going to put it on Craigslist over he summer, but we never got to it, and Lee also decided to keep it over the winter. And, being that we lived on Whidbey Island for several years, we are prepared-for the power to go out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowed In...

It's been like a Winter Wonderland around here this past week. Yes, I said WEEK. I was raised in Eastern Washington, where it snowed all winter-starting sometimes with Thanksgiving day. The first snow is always exciting. Even though I am thirtysomething years of age, I still love to see the white stuff fall. It took alot of snow where I lived to cancel school though. My school district had it's own snow plow. To get to my High School, there was a hill that you had to go up, so that got plowed first. When we were in school, and it started to snow-we stayed at school until the powers to be decided to let us out early, so the buses could get us home. There were 3 buses that always got let out first: 1. The White Pass bus. 2 & 3 The Chinook Pass buses. Our school picked up kids from the White Pass Ski Resort (whose parents worked there). One year, the bus couldn't get up there, so they weren't able to come to school for 3 days. With fresh powder at the base, I'm sure thier hearts weren't too broken.
Why do I mention all of this? Because Mac went to school on Monday, and has been out of school Tues-Wed-Thurs (today) and possibly tomorrow. Mason has been out of school all week. Lucky me. It's a huge mess over here in the Seattle areas. From Olympia-all the way up to the Canadian Border in Blaine, WA it's a mess. My Mom sometimes laughs that we get 1-2 inches or less of snow, and we have a 2 hour late start or possible cancellation of school. It hardly snows this bad here in Western Washington. The last time it was this bad was 18 years ago. The news keeps reporting this fact, and I was here at the time to see it. It was my first winter in Seattle.
Being snowed it has it's advantages. I get caught up on things that I've been putting off all month. I'm cleaning my office, sorting through and organizing old photos, cleaning and going through Mason's toys and stuff, and there will be some baking. My friend Aimee is supposed to drive over here from WallaWalla, which I don't think it will happen. She has an SUV, but, it's a mess over here! We have tried to establish a tradition of Christmas Baking. We trade who goes where every other year. This year, it's her turn. And we had a bunch of activities and baking planned. When we bake, we stay up all night long dipping pretzels and other stuff in chocolate. It's a blast. So we will see what happens. I will bake regardless if she comes or not, it just won't be as much. We bake 6-8 different types of cookies, brownies, and then there are the pretzels. I also have Christmas cards to do as well. Maybe I'll start with that.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's been cold. It snowed some on Friday night, most of the day Saturday, and then really started coming down Saturday night. I measured almost 3 1/2 inches on Lee's truck Saturday night, and I didn't bother measuring Sunday morning.
I made an attempt to take a "Christmas Card" photo of these two boys. They complained it was cold. But I was the one outside without my coat on.

Our back deck railing and part of our back yard. To the upper righthand corner, Mason's climbing/swingset/play thing. It's wood and had swings, a climbing wall, ladder, slide, etc.

It's a regular Winter Wonderland here at our house. We just might have a white Christmas. It's still really cold here, we are supposed to get more snow on Wednesday and Thursday. Mac had a 2 hour late start today, and Mason didn't have AM Kindergarten. They are thrilled with all of it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Christmas Playlist

I love Christmas! I love the lights that people hang up on their houses and trees. I love to go shopping, wrap presents, and listen to music. My Playlist posted on this blog is full of Christmas tunes that I have come to love. My favorite Christmas Carol is "O Holy Night". It's a beautiful song, and I love to hear someone else sing it. I couldn't find a version on Playlist that I liked well enough to post it. I know my list of songs on the blog are full of "modern" Christmas songs, but they are songs that get me all excited about Christmas, when I'm out and about, driving, or whatever.

Every Year Every Christmas- Luther Vandross This song is off of his Christmas CD "This Is Christmas. I got the CD when it came out in 1995. I love almost every song on this CD. I play it when I decorate our Christmas Tree. Lee makes fun of me when I play Luther, he knows it's Christmas when he hears it.

Do They Know It's Christmas- Band Aid I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this song. It was Christmas Day 1984, I was at my Grandma's house with my cousins, watching MTV (because we didn't have MTV at home), and like every 14 year old teenage girl in the 80's, was madly in love with rock bands. Bob Geldoff (member of the Boomtown Rats), wanted to bring attention to the famine in Africa. He wrote this song, called a few friends (Bono-U2, Duran Duran, The Police, WHAM!, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Banannarama, and many other's) to sing and record it. MTV had a special on how it was made and why. All of the proceeds went to the famine relief in Africa. I thought all of it was very cool, and I still do.

Last Christmas- Wham! Speaking of being a teenage girl in the 80's, I was madly in love with George Michael. When I was 16, I was wrapping Christmas presents in my bedroom, listening to the radio. Yakima was a smaller town than it is now, and there were only 2 good stations to listen too. This song was dedicated to me by an ex-boyfriend the night I was wrapping presents. He was an idiot...we only dated or "went out" for 2-3 months, in the summer-not "Last Christmas"! I didn't like the song for a year because of that. But then, after I saw the video a year later, I forgot about the whole ex-boyfriend thing.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)- U2 Who doesn't like U2? This came out, again, in the 80's on a Christmas Album (because that is what it was called back in olden days) in 1987 called "A Very Special Christmas". The proceeds went to the Special Olympics. I had the cassette tape for years, until it died. Then I bought it on CD a few years ago. I still love the songs on it. On the CD there was a "bonus track" by Bon Jovi....

I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas- Bon Jovi Love this song too. This was a "bonus" track on "A Very Special Christmas-One" There are now 3 I think. It's the red one. Last year, I had to go to the dentist, had a root canal. I brought my CD player with me, and I listened to this song, while I had my root canal. And oddly enough, I still like the song, despite my unpleasant experience.

All I Want For Christmas- Mariah Carey I like Mariah Carey, just no enough to own her CD's. I first heard this song on a movie "Love Actually" with Hugh Grant, and alot of other talented English actors/actresses. I really liked the movie, the soundtrack, and this song.

Believe- Josh Groban This song is off of the soundtrack for "The Polar Express", Mason's favorite Christmas movie. He calls it the Polar Express song. I took Mac and Mason to the theater near us in Seattle-when we lived there. I think Mason had just turned 2 or 3. He sat for the whole movie except the last 15 minutes of it. Lee was out of town that weekend, so I took the boys out. It was a good little memory for us. I wish the movie theaters would play this movie every Christmas, it was awesome on the big screen.

Silent Night- Josh Groban I like Josh Groban, and think he has an amazing voice. I love Silent Night as well, and think Josh does an awesome job singing it, without thrashing it like some other artists do.

Winter Wonderland- Eurythmics Another song of of "A Very Special Christmas". I have always liked this song since I was a kid, and this is my favorite version of it.

Christmas Canon- Trans Siberian Orchestra I love these guys! I love this song. I love Pachabel Canon anyway I can listen to it. I can't remember the first time I heard it. It was on the radio, and then I bought the CD. Trans Siberian Orchestra takes classical music songs, and adds Christmas songs to it, with some electric guitars thrown in the mix.

Christmas Eve Sarajevo- Trans Siberian Orchestra I was driving into Seattle the first time I heard this song on the radio, and wasn't stuck in traffic at the time. I like how it starts out soft and sweet and then builds up to something powerful. That is the only way I can describe it. My Sirrius/XM Satellite radio has a Christmas Song station. Lee was driving us somewhere in the minivan and told me Trans Siberian Orchestra was in town a few days before, AND DIDN'T TELL ME! So, we heard 3 of their songs, while we were driving in a 3 hour period. And he told me he guessed he should have gotten some tickets to we could go see them. Husband will be getting a lump of coal in his stocking this year for that.

So This is Christmas- Celine Dion I liked this song when I was alot younger, by John Lennon, before I really listened to the lyrics-we are talking 5th grade here. It's an anti war song, and I'm thinking about removing it from my playlist because I support our troops. I like Celine Dion's version. Sheryl Crow sang it at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting thing a few years ago, and I liked her version too.

Other songs I like that aren't on the playlist: Santa Baby, Silver Bells, Away in the Manger, The Little Drummer Boy, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Do you Hear What I Hear. I could go on all day. It snowed here last night, it's cold outside. I like the snow, I can tolerate the cold, but I'm grateful it's not like this all the time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday Mason! 7 Things We Love About You.

1. I love how you like to "tinker" in the garage and "help" your Dad out when he is outside. Even if it's out in the rain, in your socks.

2. I love how you constantly ask "Where's Mackie" when he is gone on a camp out or overnight somewhere. You two fight alot, but I know you two also love each other.

3. I love how you are "with one with the dirt" when you are outside. Yes, it drives me nuts when I see you literally laying face down on the ground when you are playing. But this is something you love doing-so I let it happen. Unless you are in your church clothes.

4. You love school...and I am so glad! You have one of the best kindergarten teachers in the school district. You go to school everyday on 1/2 days, which is a perfect fit for you. I am so grateful you are smart, bright, and inqusitive. And yes, I cried a little bit after I dropped you off on your first day of school.

5. I love it when you are sleeping. You have always looked like an angel, from the time you were a baby. I love that you are a heavy sleeper, so I can go in your room and kiss you-without you "wiping" off my kisses. Dad loves it when you come into bed with us at 2:00 in the morning every once in a while when you have a bad dream. Just as long as you tuck your little feet under you Dad's back and not mine.

6. You love being at home. When you come home from school, you just want to be home-and not go out anywhere...except the library.

7. I love how you talk. You often times mispronounce words, and have a lisp that makes my heart melt. When you were at Childrens, when you were a tiny baby- the nurses often told me "looking in his eyes, he looks like he has so much to say". You have alot to say, all the time. You let me know what makes you happy, mad, sad, and you giggle when you are really excited about something.
Sorry this post is 2 days late. It took me a few days to gather my thoughts, and not get too emotional. You had such a rough start when you were born. I have been recently been sorting through our family pictures, and when I come across a baby pictures of you-it makes me happy that you have overcome so much. You are now a normal kid, who happens to have a medical chart at Childrens Hospital that is more than 5 inches thick. Looking at you, no one would ever know. You have taught me to have patience and that anything is possible. I am so proud of you!
Happy Birthday Mason!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree & other stuff

Our Christmas Tree, is fake. I've come to terms with it over the years. I was raised with an artificial tree. I buy tree smelling candles to make it smell like we have a real tree in the house. We have white lights on the tree. I have full control of the big tree. I assemble the tree, I put the lights on, and I use to hang 95% of the ornaments-but I have relinquished some control. Mac and Lee have piped up over the last 3 years on the color of the lights. They want colored lights. I tell them "too bad". So I have compromised. Our little tree that we have downstairs. The boys have FULL control over thier tree. I assemble it, put the colored lights on it. They decorate it. The whole thing. I don't even rearrange the ornaments afterwards. It has some John Deere ornaments, Sponge Bob Square Pants ornaments, a Kasey Kahne (NASCAR driver-also Lee's cousin) ornament. Some small colored ball ones (that do break). Last year was the first year we had it up. They had some colored lights on it last year. This year-I bought them LED colored. I admit-it's a cooly lit little tree.
This is Mason's favorite decoration. I think I bought it last year. It was on sale, and Mason HAD to have this Plastic Snow Globe. It's huge. It plays annoying Christmas music with the press of a button. Snow blows in it everywhere. He loves it. The good thing about it, the batteries don't last long. All good things must come to an end. Until the Dad pulls out some batteries from who knows where, and fixes it for him.

The other stuff. Mac has an e-mail address. If you e-mail me, I will e-mail you with his address. This is a picture of him checking to see of he got any mail from anyone. Nope, not yet. It pained me to watch him type in his e-mail address and password. I think it took him 5 minutes to type it in. I'm a mean, mean Mom for typing that. But, it's the truth. Typing and computer skills are something he will be working on this year.